MEET THE LATEST WSOP CHAMPION – NICK SCHULMAN
Name: Nick Schulman
Residence: New York, NY (and Las Vegas, NV)
Occupation: Professional Poker Player
WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories: 2
WSOP Cashes: 16
WSOP Final Table Appearances: 8
WSOP Earnings: $1,228,390 Note: Schulman will be classified as a professional poker player in WSOP records, since he plays poker full-time.
INTERVIEW WITH THE WINNER
Question: This is an event with a lot of history. How does it feel to be grouped with all the greats who have won this event in the past?
Schulman: Well, it’s a real honor. I’ve had the privilege to play cash games with some of those guys – like Billy Baxter and Doyle Brunson. You know, I’ve learned a lot from Billy, playing with him. And I mean, winning it again -- it’s just a great accomplishment but also a reminder of how tough it is and what needs to go right. And it’s just a great feeling, really. I’m very honored to have won it again. I don’t how some of these guys have won it six or seven times. I mean, it’s crazy.
Question: Is it tougher to go through a really brutal lineup of talented players like this event attracted or monster-sized field like 4,000 or so?
Schulman: Well, to be honest -- I think the 4,000 player field just cause of the stamina. For me, I know after a few days, is when I really start to wear down a little. But a tournament like this, it’s very exhausting. I mean, and there are so many great players, and you can’t really let your guard down ever or let your focus down. So, there both super tough. I’ve yet to conquer the field of 4,000, so I guess I have to say this one has been a little easier for me.
Question: Two wins. Three final tables. Would you consider yourself the best single-draw tournament player in the world?
Schulman: I really don’t think in those terms. I mean, I would consider John Juanda as that. I think he has four final tables. Tournaments -- you know if I complain a lot when I lose, so I can’t just, when I win, say I’m the best. A lot has to go right. I got it in a lot. I got all-in, or I wasn’t all in, but my opponent was, and I won most of those hands. So, you could play the best and be the best, and you’re still the big underdog to win a tournament. So, I think I’m one of the best for sure. I feel good about my game. But the best? I don’t know.
Question: Considering you’ve won this before, what was your mind set this time? What were you thinking, when you sat down on day one?
Schulman: Yeah. I love this event. I really enjoy it. So, I was just…I always have fun here, in this one. But I do feel strongly about my No-Limit Deuce-Seven game, so I’m always a little pumped up for this. I’m never really thinking victory on day one. I just kinda’ try to stay in the moment and play my best.
Question: Did being seated with another past winner, John Juanda, change things?
Schulman: I was lucky to be right on his left. It didn’t really change things. I just have really, like, the upmost respect for this game, so I just needed to stay focus; kind of play my game. I didn’t want to adjust to him too much. I wanted to just play and kind of take it from there. Obviously when he got knocked out -- I like him; he’s a friend -- but it was a nice feeling because he’s a great player. But everybody played great. This tournament does that. You need to get the right breaks at the right time, play your best, put yourself in a position to win and then just see what happens from there.
Question: Give us your endorsement of this game.
Schulman: Well, this game is kind of like really a sport. A lot of the other poker games…a lot of hands play themselves. This game is mentally and physically exhausting because there is a lot of situations where there is like, you’re either lying, or you’re telling the truth. Then there are situations where it’s in between. Where it’s, ‘I think you have that…but maybe I have this.’ And some of the things you can do in this game are unlike really any other poker game cause it’s entirely closed information. So, there’s, you know, you never see someone’s hand. You never see what they draw, what they catch, anything, until the end, which makes it fascinating. In ways, it’s very simple. You know, there’s a street before the draw and then a street after. But there’s just so many things to it. And the great thing about this game is you can learn the rules super quickly and get in there and play. And you learn a lot about yourself in this game. I mean, this game is brutal, but fun.
Question: What did you learn about yourself playing this game?
Schulman: You just have to be very resilient. You know, you need to trust yourself a lot because there are situations where, you know, a guy bets the end, and you really want to call. You have to try and figure it out. If you ever slip, and you just start guessing, it’s tough to maintain that, you know, in the long run. It’s hard to explain. But it’s a very exhausting game. You need to be tough and resilient and fight hard to do well in it. And I think that that can overcome talent in some situations. As long as you’re just fighting hard in every single hand -- and even the hands you’re not in -- studying your opponents, never giving an inch, you put yourself in the best situation in a game like this.